The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, says Nigerian youths are exceptionally gifted and can produce all the goods and services which the country require for its development.
The Ooni said this at the launch of ‘The Gifted Project’, an initiative of Engage Diaspora Foundation, an NGO, targeted at empowering gifted youths across the country.
He commended young entrepreneurs who had since been displaying high proficiency, ability and capability through technological inventions and innovations.
“All we need to do is to patronise and motivate these people to enable them to take the good works to greater heights.
“Personally, I am a fan of locally-made materials and items, and that’s what I want all to imbibe for the growth of our economy,” he said.
The monarch pledged his sustained support for the products of young entrepreneurs as long as their goods were not harmful to the society.
Earlier, the President of the foundation, Hajiya Aisha Oni, in her address, said that the initiative was aimed at supporting 1,200 local entrepreneurs annually.
Besides, she said that the project was to promote locally-produced technologies, facilitate Diaspora investment in MSMEs and reduce unemployment through commercialisation of viable projects.
She said that it would also link entrepreneurs with local and international funding agencies, while providing COVID-19 relief to Nigerians via job creation.
Oni said that the participants would enjoy three years of factory space at the nearest Technology Incubation Centre (TIC).
“They will also enjoy subsidised accommodation near the TIC, accelerated patenting rights through NOTAP, access to MSMEs’ one-stop shop nationwide and access to local and international funding,” she said.
Oni commended the Ooni and the Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti, Oba Joseph Adebayo, for their support, even as she expressed appreciation to all the investors and partners for their collaboration.
In her goodwill message, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), commended the Ooni for the initiative and pledged government support for it.
“We have concluded plans to host the brain behind the programme and all the participants to see how to get the best out of our youthful entrepreneurs.
“Our doors are always open and I want to assure you that the future is bright,” Dabiri-Erewa, who took part in the programme virtually, said.
Some of the dignitaries at the event include the Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti, the President of Oodua Chamber of Commerce, Chief Kola Akosile and the Director-General of the Nigerian Board for Technical Incubation (NBTI), who was represented by Mr Olufemi Olugbenga.
Some of the investors and stakeholders, who participated virtually from their respective locations across the world, include the Vice-President of the Chase Bank, USA, Mr Andrew Adeniyi.